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2012: A Shopper's Odyssey

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Yesterday I Tweeted, Facebooked and Tumbled a fabulous pair of pink skinny jeans from Zara that I discovered on Have to Have, a social registry for your life that I co-founded. Why did I do this? My style is one of the ways in which I express who I am.

Apparently I wasn't the only one who thought the pink jeans were the new it thing. Once I had seen that 14 other people added the pink jeans to their profiles, I knew I had to have them. Shoppers are social creatures and friends are some of our strongest influencers in purchasing decisions. 83 percent of online shoppers said they are interested in sharing information about their purchases with people they know, while 74 percent are influenced by the opinions of others in their decision to buy the product in the first place.

However, social media is not just all about me. I love seeing what fashionable finds my friends are plucking from across the web and in stores as they snap photos on their phones. From Etsy to Shibuya to the tiny unknown boutique on Manhattan's Lower East Side, cool finds are hitting our radar screens faster and powered by social media. Apps such as Instagram and Pose and inspiration platforms such as Pinterest are helping to make this sharing easier than ever before, both online and with mobile.

Today shopping is all about social commerce and new tools that make browsing and buying a breeze - from wherever we are. A number of innovative companies are creating tools for people to not only discover fashion and show off their style, but also to help them shop the way they really do - both online and in stores.

Mobile is an increasingly important piece of this puzzle bridging online and offline shopping. When it comes to clothing, shoppers often seek out products that they find online in real life so they can feel the fabric, try things on for size and fit or just want another opinion. They also want to buy the products they see in stores later online, oftentimes for the convenience factor. An overwhelming 78 percent of consumers use at least two such "channels" to browse, research and make purchases, and 56 percent of online shoppers who own a mobile device say they use that device to research or buy products.

So what does all this mean in practice? For starters, I no longer have to read my mom's mind when I want to buy her a birthday present. I know exactly what she wants when I check out her Have to Have profile and from there I can click to buy directly from the retailer. Likewise, I used to email myself reminders about products I had seen and liked, but now I use social bookmarking sites, like our own, to save products from across the web. The new Have to Have mobile app allows me to snap and save photos to my profile - from the fashion show runways in Lincoln Center to the Mall of America. I can also reference my wishlists, see what I have saved online and take care of all sorts of other online and offline shopping needs. I dig social commerce because it's fun, efficient and keeps me on-trend.

Aileen Lee, a partner at Kleiner Perkins said, "If you figure out how to harness the power of female customers, you can rock the world."4 From two women who see a tremendous need from both the consumers and the brands, we are working on it!